And before we get to a dissection of Webber's game ... we're going to change the subject to what appears to be a growing note of discord and disharmony -- aw, heck, let's just call it hate -- between Rasheed Wallace and coach Flip Saunders.Adding fuel to the fire, Sheridan also noted that Wallace received (yet another) technical with five minutes left in the game, suggesting it was the reason Rasheed was benched for the final two and a half minutes, and he pointed out a post-game quote from Saunders in which the coach appeared to call out Rasheed by lamenting the number of techs his team has received in close games this year.
At one point late in the third quarter during a timeout, nearly everyone on the Pistons' bench turned and stared at Sheed as he prematurely broke from the huddle and walked to the scorers' table to await the resumption of play.
Now Wallace has been doing this for years, but on this occasion, judging from the looks on the Pistons' faces, there was more to it.
Needless to say, Rasheed wasn't exactly thrilled to see Sheridan after practice on Thursday.From Sheridan's blog on ESPN Insider:
Rasheed Wallace was thrusting a bottle of orange soda straight at my chin after he came over to me this morning at the Pistons' practice facility for some civilized discourse regarding this morning's Daily Dime lead.The Pistons' PR machine went into full-force covering the post-practice confrontation as Saunders elaborated about Rasheed leaving the huddle early to Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois:
Of course, what constitutes civilized discourse is not the same to everyone.
So as I explained to Sheed that pointing a soda and screaming obscenities at me was not my preferred way to conduct an adult discussion, he kept yelling, "Did you ever hear the word 'hate' come out of my mouth?"
That was actually the second discussion I'd had on the subject in the course of a half-hour, the first coming when coach Flip Saunders patted me on the back and said he wished I had chosen a different word than "hate" to describe his less-than-ideal relationship with Wallace.
Fair enough. Hate is a strong word, and the words that preceded it in the column -- "discord and disharmony" -- were sufficient.
"He did that all 64 games we won last year and he did that all 18 games we lost," Saunders said. "That's just what he's always done. He's never doing anything to be disrespectful. He's not leaving the huddle before everything is said. When he leaves the huddle, it's because we're done.So what's the real story? This isn't the first time that Rasheed has been accused of leaving a huddle early, though to be fair none of those accusations have come from anyone actually inside of the huddle. Perhaps Flip is telling the truth, or perhaps he's simply trying to avoid rocking the boat.
"He's done that his whole career. Some guys want to sit down, some guys stand and walk around. His thing is he goes and sits at center court and thinks about things. A lot of times, I'll go up and I'll talk to him there. He's not doing that out of disrespect.
"I don't think he hates me. That's a pretty strong statement."
On a sidenote, if Flip ever grows tired of massaging professional egos, he will have options this summer.